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Andrew

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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. I'm at the top of my library's reserve list for Jon Krakauer's latest, Under the Banner of Heaven. Apparently, he's branching out from his usual reportage on extreme sportsmen (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, etc.), and writing about extreme Mormon fundamentalists instead. It sounded like an interesting topic to me, but Krakauer's such an evocative writer, I'd read just about anything by him.
  2. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    The first shot went by too quickly for me to tell, but yeah, the actress at the end is definitely not JL. I don't have time to write in detail this morning, but I look forward to reading the reviews linked to here. A fascinating, disturbing film; Lawrence certainly deserves an Oscar nod for her performance here. No time to link, but yesterday's NY Times had a worthwhile interview with Aronofsky and Lawrence. And I can't resist a little snark: I'm guessing Aronofsky didn't reach out to the Christian press for this one?
  3. TIFF 2017

    Yeah, I know, no celebrity sightings out and about Toronto, unlike last year (walked past Agnes Varda at TIFF Lightbox and saw Iggy Pop at the airport). But I've been more impressed with the films on offer. Today included my second 5-star film of 2017 (Makala) and a 4.5-star suspense film out of Norway (Thelma).
  4. One of Us

    The newest film from the co-directors of "Jesus Camp" had its world premiere at TIFF last night, with the co-directors and their documentary's 3 subjects in attendance. This time they're looking at the lives of ex-Hasidim, and I think they've done splendidly. Here's my review: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/09/one-us-struggles-ex-hasidim-vividly-revealed-directors-jesus-camp/
  5. TIFF 2017

    Well, I made our film selections yesterday afternoon, and I'm very happy with how the process shook out this year. I was able to score tix for 6 of my top 10 selections, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to make it in for 2 of the others. I do notice that the tone of the films I chose is lighter than in years past; this wasn't conscious, but in this Year of Trump, I guess I've had enough dourness in current events to make me aim for more upbeat cinematic fare. Saturday 9/9 - I, Tonya - Mary Shelley or Suburbicon Sunday, 9/10 - The Current War - The Square - One of Us Monday, 9/11 - Lean on Pete (our lean day – we may add in Hostiles) Tuesday, 9/12 - Downsizing - BPM Wed, 9/13 - Faces Places - Loving Pablo Thurs, 9/14 - Kings - Marrowbone Fri, 9/15 - Makala - Thelma Sat, 9/16 - Jane - C’est la Vie!
  6. TIFF 2017

    Jessica and I will be there Sept 8-17. I'm still working on my selection list, but at the top are BPM, C'est la Vie (horrible title, though), Downsizing, Faces Places, Happy End, I Tonya, Jane, Kings, Loving Pablo, Marrowbone, Mary Shelley, Molly's Game, Novitiate, Number One, One of Us, Sighted Eyes, Suburbicon, The Children Act, The Current War, The Florida Project, The Insult, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Square, The Third Murder, Thelma, and Three Billboards. So even if my very favorite contemporary directors don't have films showing, there's still plenty that I'm excited to see.
  7. The Good Place

    Sounds appealing, and my family and I are always looking for good comedy on our streaming services - we'll check it out!
  8. Red Beard

    I think Stephen Prince - in probably the best English language book on Kurosawa's career, The Warrior's Camera - considers this connection the most substantially of any writer I've seen. I don't recall coming across any articles or chapters that consider this issue specifically when I wrote my chapter on Kurosawa for the book Ken Morefield edited several years ago. And scanning the index of Prince's book, he name-checks Dostoevsky nearly 20 times.
  9. Red Beard

    I don't know that I want to fully defend that scene, as it is certainly over the top. But I can see why Kurosawa included it, as it shows that Niide is quite capable of reacting violently to try and right the world, yet regrets doing so and has chosen a path of healing instead. I imagine this was an especially relevant point of view for a society that had recently been perceived as an extension of the military for over 10 years. IIRC, Kurosawa was especially inspired by Dostoevsky's The Insulted and the Injured in writing this script.
  10. In this Corner of the World

    This one had escaped my notice; thanks for the recommendation.
  11. Dunkirk

    THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD I dunno, I think a golden mean can be found between fetishizing violence (I only made it through 45 min or so of Hacksaw Ridge before turning it off as war porn) and sanitizing it. With its bloodlessness, Dunkirk erred to the opposite extreme (when bombs drop on a crowded beach, the result will look a whole lot different than what we saw here). And the dangers endured by the characters here (especially the repeated scenes with water filling compartments) felt too movie cliche to me, such that I never felt the main characters in these scenes were actually in grave danger.
  12. 13 Reasons Why

    If you have teens (especially, by my informal survey, teenaged daughters), they've likely already watched this series. In a moment of deep pride for me, my daughter and I co-wrote a review of the series (in which, truth be told, she did the heavy lifting). We both agree that the show is a substantial success aesthetically (using the talents of folks like Jessica Yu, Gregg Araki, and Tom McCarthy), but fails by its irresponsible handling of serious topics like teen suicide and sexual trauma. Here's the link to our full analysis: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/06/high-school-trauma-edutainment-teenagers-dads-responses-13-reasons/
  13. Dunkirk

    Yeah, count me underwhelmed as well. A few major drawbacks to it: 1) it felt too clinical with its near-total lack of character development; 2) some of the CGI effects were unconvincing; 3) the three separate Inception-esque timelines were quite disorienting at first. To be sure, there were some very touching moments, especially around Mark Rylance's character and the civilian rescue efforts. Overall, though, this feels far inferior to Nolan's best work.
  14. Beatriz at Dinner

    After a meh couple of months at the cineplex, this was a good one, and quite timely. Here's my review: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/07/beatriz-dinner-fish-water-parable-time/
  15. I Am Not Your Negro

    I don't tout my work here as often as I used to, but this is the best new film I've seen in almost a year; a perfect meshing of screenwriting, visual, musical, editing, intellectual and emotional content. My full review: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/02/not-negro-delivers-unforgettable-look-black-american-experience/
  16. The Leftovers

    My wife and I loved this (Season 1 > 3 > 2). The final season is batshit crazy but iresistibly watchable. I couldn't tolerate Lost, nor the source material for this show, but yeah, this worked for me. Terrific finale; the entire third season explores the desperate things that people will believe to make grief and the brevity of life bearable, but credibly keeps an open mind as to the objective veracity of some of those beliefs. As Iris Dement's opening tune states, they're willing to let the mystery be.
  17. Boy Erased

    This was an excellent read (or listen, actually). I hope the film does it right; for its theme, it was surprisingly un-bitter and understated.
  18. Thank you for all of that exposition, Peter. I thought Prometheus was fun and creepy, even if it had way too much of scientists behaving stupidly. Covenant, OTOH, just felt flat and predictable after its first 30 minutes. Here's my full review, though it feels a bit extraneous after Peter's commentary: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/05/alien-covenant-starts-promisingly-fails-stretch/
  19. Title: The WayDirector: Emilio EstevezYear: 2010Language: EnglishIMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441912/?ref_=nv_sr_2YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):
  20. Cries from Syria

    It's been available on HBO for a month or so, but I finally got around to watching it. I thought this was an excellent overview of recent Syrian events, offering clarity while not sacrificing accuracy. Very gutsy reporting (much of the footage was captured by ordinary Syrian citizens and activists), but it's not for the faint of heart, as it doesn't flinch away from showing the actions and consequences of the brutality perpetrated by Assad, Putin, and ISIS. Here's the link to my full review: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/05/cries-syria-illuminating-gut-wrenching-masterclass-current-events-filmmaking/
  21. Hey all: I thought it might be worthwhile to do an analogous thread to 'What We're Watching' in the Film section - i.e., books that we found worthwhile, but we're not sure they merit an entire thread. Anyway, here's a book that I've found enlightening recently: Epileptic, by David B. - this is a French autobio-graphic novel, telling the story of David's childhood/adolescent/early adulthood years in the shadow of an older brother with intractable seizures. To say the least, his parents were not traditionally minded, so the family visited macrobiotic communes, acupuncturists, magnetists, among others, in seeking a cure. As this occurs, David feels increasingly angered by his brother's sickness, as he realizes he is powerless to offer any meaningful aid. The artwork on the pages is quite distinctive, as David often depicts a heavy dose of spiritual forces that are involved in these trials for a cure - the darkness on display on certain pages is almost overwhelming at times, yet I found this to be a worthwhile window into this family's suffering.
  22. The Lost City of Z (2016)

    I know Gray's earlier film The Immigrant got lotsa love around here, but I think this is even better: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2017/04/lost-city-z-enchanting-throwback-progressive-twist/
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